Monday, December 13, 2010

Win a $500 Gift Card to Adorama Camera from mcpactions and adorama. Enter here:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fernadele. Giving away some stuff. :) I love how her shop is a blend of photog props and yarny goodness. I think we have some things in common. ;)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pamela Topping is hosting THE most amazing "Black Friday" giveaway for photogs this week, check it out:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I love my blog...
wish I could visit more often...


Elizabeth Halford has a new DVD out, "Shooting My Kids." :P It looks fun and helpful. Clickin' Moms is giving away a copy:

Good Luck!

Friday, September 10, 2010

i heart faces fix-it Friday

Not too long ago, I discovered a couple things. I discovered Google Reader. I had no idea one could follow blogs in one place like that. I had wished for such a thing, but I'd never asked. Can't believe I took so long to catch up. Now I get a daily dose of photography heaven--or overload.

I also discovered, among the many wonderful photography websites out there, i heart faces, a cool site about shooting people. (haha) Every Friday, readers get a chance to flex their processing muscles with a submitted photo. With my recent addition of Lightroom 3 and a fast new computer to my editing lineup (here is where the angels start to sing), I thought I'd give it a go.

This week's shot is an adorable little girl by Amy Locurto of Atomic Egg Photography (what a name! You'll remember that, won't you?) The focus was slightly off, but otherwise, was a dream image to work with.



Now to try to remember what all I did...
I imported the image to Lightroom and made these adjustments:
Temp +31
Tint +22
Exposure +.05
Fill 10
Blacks 13
Contrast +19
Vibrance +79
Saturation -33
Red +27 (I dunno why, it just looked cool.)
Yellow +59 (brought out color of bows)
Green +2
Blue +59 (brought out color of dress)
Orange +34 (Took cast off face and made it glow)
Green +2
Hue 50
Sat 11
Balance -11
Hue 240
Sat 10
(I had no method to split toning, I just slid it around to see what it would do.)

I busted out the ultra-cool adjustment brush here and brightened up under her eyes a smidge, brushed the iris pop over her eyes, then brightened skin around the chin that was shadowed.

Then I opened it up in paint Shop Pro and added a texture from Muffet on Flickr. It warmed the background, but I mostly masked it off her face. I added a vignette using curves. Then I ran the high pass sharpen at radius 4 and 100 strength, overlay mode, on a duplicate, using layer masks so that the sharpening affected her eyes as well as her hair and mouth at a reduced opacity.

I like the brownish overall tone complimented by the pop of yellow and blue. and I think I got her eyes looking pretty nice--that was all LR adjustment brush and high-pass sharpen.

Sounds like a lot, but it really didn't take all that long. This is a really cool exercise to see what I can do with editing and help me to see what sorts of photos work well with what styles of editing. It's also nice to write down what I'm doing so I can come back to analyze and learn. Hopefully, I'll keep up with Fix-it Friday. :) Heck, it will give my pretty blog some action.

Monday, April 19, 2010

For posterity's sake...

I am very much a beginner with photography. I like to learn new things, and frequently, I pick them up quickly. And sometimes, I have these moments of frustration in which I just can't seem to catch up to where I feel I should be.

I suppose everyone has these moments, right? And in the spirit of trying to learn, I'm going to share a couple recent photographic mistakes.

I took a day trip to visit some family who live out on the country on a gorgeous bit of land that they've only made more gorgeous with all their additions. I wanted to photograph their new barn and I thought it would be pretty to have the wildflowers swaying in the breeze in the foreground. I got that a little bit, but had trouble getting a slow enough shutter speed without over-exposing. And here is my "d'oh!" moment... I had a polarizing filter in my bag. It might have even prettied the sky a bit for me, and it most certainly would have darkened things a bit to let me slow down the shutter speed more. It's not a terrible image, but it could have been better if I hadn't been in such a hurry.

I found this amazing, HUGE, Indian Paintbrush in their fields. It was perfect and I decided to try a downwards shot on it. Wouldn't it have been perfect if I'd actually shot a few more frames to actually get the blasted thing dead-on and not slightly off? It was windy, but I should have realized that any angle that got me off from dead centered would reduce the impact. Maybe next year I can try again...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Makeover in Progress...

Well, I redid my profiles on some of the websites I frequent, so I felt a new look was in order for my blog. I saw a cute blog recently and saw a little link at the top of her page to "The Cutest Blogs on the Block." I investigated and a whole new world opened up to me: I can download backgrounds and templates for Blogger beyond the ones that it provides for me!


So then I went nuts and wouldn't rest until I found just the right look for my blog. (Because I update it oh-so-much. It really deserved to look gorgeous. /sarcasm.) It still is a work in progress, but I think I've figured out what I can and can't do without taking a course in making style sheets myself. Hopefully, I'll faind some time to fine tune soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to share what I thought were the best websites with the most beautiful templates and backgrounds for blogger:

Hot Bliggity Blog ,
The Cutest Blog on the Block , and
Shabby Blogs
all have super-easy-to-install backgrounds. These won't change your current layout, they just update the basic look behind it.

Pyzam and
Simply Fabulous Blogs
have templates that you have to download and install using the "edit HTML" section under layout. Directions are readily available and it's not complicated, I promise. But you will want to save any layout widgits, etc, that you have because installing a new template will delete your current ones.

Have fun if you need to browse for a new style!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Suburban Woman

Inspired, I assume, by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, I've started taking pictures of dishes I've cooked. I suppose it's all an attempt to make my life look more fabulous than it really is.

See, chopped garlic can look pretty snazzy with a shallow depth of field. I used it in this awesome shrimp dish the other night.

It was simple, easy and elegant, just my speed. It's called "Dirty Shrimp in Butter-Beer sauce," but the Harry Potter fan in me only heard "butterbeer" and decided it was an instant favorite before I even made it. Fortunately, it turned out pretty good, though by the time I finished taking pictures of it, it was served a little cold. (Sorry to my hubby.) And, even better, there was an unfinished bottle of beer from making the sauce that I got to enjoy with it. It was my first one in about two years, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Baked quesadillas are a weekly staple at my house. At least for my hubby. I've been making them so long that I've gotten a little tired of them--unless I take the time to make homemade salsa, which defeats the purpose of this being a quick and easy dish to put together at the last minute. I love a good homemade salsa... But the quesadillas. They're good. I just put a tortilla on a cookie sheet, sprinkle a thin layer of cheese, put on some fillins' (I usually do grilled chicken, green bell peppers and mushrooms, but this is a dish you can use whatever you have on hand. Just make sure the meat is already cooked. And I don't saute the veggies--I can't tell a difference if I do, so I don't bother.) Sprinkle another thin layer of cheese, put on another torrilla, pop in the oven for 10 minutes at 350. Hubby likes his a little soft, I like mine a little crunchy, so his comes out a little earlier, mine a little later. I then serve with salsa and sour cream (guac is good, too.)

These enchiladas are amazingly yummy, but my picture doesn't seem to express that, now does it? The cheese always makes a pretty swirliness on top and I though I'd try to capture that, but I think I need to get the inside of it a little better, or at least on a plate. Here, it just looks like a block of yellow. A shiny one, at that. Not very appetizing.

I guess this is just another challenge. Food photography ain't easy, my friends, but as I'm learning, life is not always about the destination , but the journey, and this is one of those things I'll have to work on.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A new look

It's springtime in my backyard! The Bradford Pear has decided to get dressed in her finest again...

Doesn't she have excellent taste?

All this prettiness makes it hard to stay inside and knit. :)

I decided to change my username on Ravelry, and give my blog some sprucing up. I guess I got a little tired of explaining "accio socks" to people and getting such strange looks (you'd think I'd be used to it, but...) So now I'm Lucky Ladybug. Because I've always liked ladybugs. They're cute and bring good luck! I have a new ravatar:

It's a picture I found (on a free stock sharing site). I hope to have my very own picture of a ladybug someday, but until I get a macro lens and a cooperative ladybug, someone else's nice picture will have to suffice.

Whenever I feel the inkling I may post up something other than yarnplay. After all, it's not my only creative endeavor.

Now, if I could only get that darned Ravelry widgit working again. Grr. Am I only alowed one?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So that's why they call it a drop spindle.

Last night I took a drop spindle class. The lovely ladies from Sky Loom Weavers gave us makeshift drop spindles (made from dowels stuck through CDs) and some roving, and got us started. I wish I could say I was a natural! Alas, my yarn is quite the mess, but I love it. I look forward to getting my hands on it again and practicing. Spinning is incredibly low-tech and subjective. I was amazed at how simple the concept is yet how difficult it is to execute. You just take a lump of fiber, break it up, and twirl it about on itself and it becomes yarn. Amazing! I don't know why I thought it would be more complicated, but there you go.

I got a chance to sit at a spinning wheel for a few minutes as well, and that was a disaster! It was a total-body experience and completely difficult to wrap my body and mind around running the wheel and drafting the roving simultaneously. I think I'll stick to drop spindle for now to get the handling of the fiber down, thanks! Maybe someday I'll make another attempt, if I enjoy finishing out the roving I have left to do. I'm funny that way--as if a gauntlet has been thrown down, I have a new challenge. I want to master this, because I sure as heck can't do it well yet! And I don't know how much of my fascination is purely academic interest in how yarn is made, my innate desire to always be learning something new, or if I simply enjoy this activity. Time will tell!

My roving is a blend of wool from a sheep named Myra and mohair from Penny's own goat named Shakespeare. I am so tickled that I will have yarn that comes from animals whose names I know. I'm also blown away by the fact that I am learning an ancient technique--they told us that this was how yarn was spun until the 1400s. Amazing. I can imagine William Wallace's mother using the drop spindle to make yarn for her son's socks. That connection to the past and to the origin of the fiber gives my efforts such meaning. I love it. I can now see why someone would want to live in the country and raise goats to make yarn.

And yes, I dropped the blasted thing a ridiculous number of times. They told me that's why it's a "drop" spindle... think they were making fun?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Looking Ahead

So, I (finally) recounted what I did in 2009 with the needles, now I need to look ahead to what I plan to knit in 2010.

  • Finish two pairs of socks in hibernation.

  • Hats for the local hospital nursery

  • Start a Hemloch Ring blanket with my grandmother's yarn (don't feel like I have to finish it this year)

  • Christmas stockings for my Little Man

  • Crazy Monkeys socks to learn Eye of Partridge heel that my SIL raves about

  • Best Friend Cardigan for me

  • Pomatomus Socks

  • New hats for the kiddos for next winter: Who? for Pumpkin and a striped hat for the Little Man

That seems enough to be getting on with for now. I have already completed one of the socks I started last year, even:

The pattern is Die Zaubersocken and the yarn is On Your Toes by Kertzer. Loved, loved, loved this yarn. It was smooth and shmooshy and shiny and this pattern, with lots of stockinette, showed it off so well. I got exactly what I wanted by a yarn and pattern pairing. :) I do, however, need to get a better grasp of sizing... I always push on a little too long before I get started on the heel, underestimating how much length the heel will add. The picture shows a bit of scrunching up from my socks being a bit too long. I will hopefully learn!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2009 year in review

Bit late for this, but... oh well.

11 baby hats
1 child's sweater
1 baby sweater
1 baby vest
1 knitted bunny
6 knitted cupcakes
2 pairs fingerless mitts
1 pair socks completed, 2 started
1 ugly scarf.
& 1 adorable little baby boy. (Oh wait, he wasn't knitted, but I am extremely proud of him.)

Much of that was knit in the early months of the year when I was on bedrest and the arrival of baby #2 slowed down my progress. My interest in knitting seems to be rekindled now, though I can't say if my interest in blogging will be!

sock yarn does not count as stash!

I've heard it said before... sock yarn doesn't count as stash. Sure, it's a cute thing to say, but I didn't see the reasoning until now.

Sock yarn is intended for socks. I know, that's obvious, but the statement has important ramifications. Yarn in any other weight doesn't have a set purpose. Lace weight could be used for a shawl, a scarf, a doily... Worsted can be bought in a small amount for a hat, or a larger amount for a sweater or afghan. If you find a fabulous DK (like I did recently: Rowan's Tapestry!) and you just go ahead and just buy some with nothing in specific in mind, you may not have the right amount when you choose a project. (Why I still haven't bought any Tapestry, yet.) You'll inevitably buy more than you think you'd actually use, because you don't want to come up short. A couple purchases like this and your yarn drawer turns into your yarn room... and a problem with over abundant stash. It's simply hard to know how much yarn to buy when you find something yummy, and it turns into stash.

Sock yarn, being intended for socks, is typically sold in amounts appropriate for a sock project. It is therefore easy to know how much you need. You can grab a skein and know that you'll pair it with a perfect pattern later and have the right amount. Sure, there are exceptions. Knee highs would require two skeins and mitts might need less. But, if you like knitting socks, the yarn is easy to just grab when something tickles your fancy and you don't have to feel any guilt about it spilling over out of the closet and all over your living room.

I like sock yarn for these reasons. And I can't wait to see the new skeins I just ordered that won't actually be stash. :)
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